Prosecution Backtracks in Sex-Abuse Fraud Case, Jillings report confirms ‘extensive’ abuse at north Wales children’s homes
July 9, 2013 Comments Off on Prosecution Backtracks in Sex-Abuse Fraud Case, Jillings report confirms ‘extensive’ abuse at north Wales children’s homes
Prosecution Backtracks in Sex-Abuse Fraud Case
By MOSI SECRET July 8, 2013
Brooklyn prosecutors had been scheduled on Monday to open the trial of an Orthodox Jew charged with paying a child to falsely testify that he was a victim of sexual abuse.
But in a dramatic reversal, they told the trial judge that their key witness was no longer trustworthy, indicating the potential collapse of a controversial case that highlighted the complicated relationship between District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and the politically influential Orthodox community.
The case against the defendant, Sam Kellner, has been unusual from the start. Mr. Kellner had accused a prominent Hasidic cantor, Baruch Lebovits, of molesting his son, and Mr. Kellner helped the district attorney’s office identify other victims, leading to Mr. Lebovits’s conviction in March 2010.
But four months later, one victim who testified against Mr. Lebovits before a grand jury told prosecutors that he had testified only because Mr. Kellner paid him $10,000. Prosecutors turned around and won the indictment of Mr. Kellner, using the original accuser, now an adult, as their key witness in the new case. Mr. Kellner was also charged with trying to extort $400,000 from the Lebovits family to keep other children from making accusations….
In State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Monday, prosecutors told the judge, Ann M. Donnelly, that they learned a couple of weeks ago that their witness had made the accusations against Mr. Kellner after accepting financial assistance from Mr. Lebovits’s supporters. That money went to paying for his lawyer; his travel to and from Israel, where he is a student; his apartment; and his school fees.
The judge delayed the trial until July 29 to give prosecutors time to investigate the witness, who previously had said Mr. Lebovits had raped him. A lawyer for Mr. Kellner, Niall MacGiollabhui, said after the hearing that he approached Mr. Hynes’s office months ago with evidence that supporters of Mr. Lebovits were manipulating the accuser….
The concerns come even from inside the district attorney’s office, where some have worried that Mr. Lebovits’s lawyer, Arthur L. Aidala, had undue influence.
Mr. Aidala, who used to work in the office, had brought the allegations against Mr. Kellner directly to the chief of the district attorney’s rackets division, Michael F. Vecchione. Mr. Aidala turned over an audio recording of a conversation that he said showed Mr. Kellner trying to extort money from Mr. Lebovits’s son, according to discovery material in the case. A translation of the conversation issued by the prosecutor’s office is ambiguous.
Mr. Aidala, who is a campaign contributor to Mr. Hynes and the vice president of Mr. Hynes’s nonprofit foundation, has boasted to prosecutors about his access to and influence with Mr. Hynes and Mr. Vecchione, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case….
Jillings report confirms ‘extensive’ abuse at north Wales children’s homes
Heavily redacted version of 300-page report finally published after 20 years following freedom of information requests
Steven Morris guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 July 2013
A report into physical and sexual abuse at children’s homes that was suppressed for almost 20 years concluded there was “extensive” mistreatment of young people over a “substantial” number of years.
The Jillings report into residential care units in north Wales, which has finally been released, said the lives of many children had been blighted by the abuse they suffered while living at the homes….
But it concluded: “Our investigations have led us to conclude that the abuse of children and young people in Clwyd residential units has been extensive and has taken place over a substantial number of years.
“It’s clear in a significant number of cases the lives of young people who have been through the care system in Clwyd have been severely disrupted. At least 12 young people are dead.”
The report said the role of other agencies including North Wales police and the Welsh Office needed “careful and detailed scrutiny”.
It expressed concern there was “no mechanism to ensure that independent investigations are conducted of allegations against former and serving police officers”.
The report added: “Time and time again the responses to indications that children may have been abused has been too little and too late. The criticisms apply not only to Clwyd county council but also to the Welsh Office and North Wales police.”….
A police investigation ordered by David Cameron at the height of the McAlpine scandal is under way. So far more than 140 people have told police they were victims of abuse at children’s homes across north Wales between 1963 and 1992.